All flying undertaken by Instructors at Kemble Flying Club is categorised as training, whether it is a taster lesson or Trial Flight, a normal flying lesson, or one of our other experiences like ‘Pilot for a Day’. Whatever type of experience you decide to take with us there is a good deal of useful information for first time ‘pilots’ on the Trial Flight page. If this is appropriate for you please have a look here as I would like to think most of your questions will be answered. All flying training referred to can be taken in fixedwing or the flexwing aircraft. (See: Our Aircraft)
Flying training is one of the most important aspects of what we do here at Kemble Flying Club. Whether you come to see us for a one off experience, for a series of training flights, or to complete a pilot’s licence we can, without hesitation, say this will be a rewarding, sometimes challenging, and, even a life changing experience! Of course some people come to us for conversion training, refresher training (we could call that advanced training) and for flying instructor courses.
There is a magic about flying small aircraft, a thrill, its like we have cheated gravity to play in the sky. We have read and seen pictures of the pioneers of flight and the first powered flights were only a little over 100 years ago! We are constantly exhilarated by the flying experience, the feelings of buoyancy of the air, the spectacle of different cloud shapes and patterns and colours as the light dances around us. And, the views of the landscape, the masses of open spaces, woodlands, hills and rivers. From Kemble we only have to be upwards of 1,000ft above ground and we can see to the Welsh mountains to the west, the Malverns, and the Cotswold plateau stretching away to the north. We can see as far as Didcott Power Station to the east and Salisbury Plain to the south. You don’t actually have to take a ride into Space to see the World is a small place!
Importantly training should be fun! You will learn so much more if you are enjoying it. At the same time Safety is our utmost priority and when you are on your way to becoming a fully fledged pilot then it will take some commitment and discipline.
Arriving for a lesson
Your welcome at Kemble Flying Club will be warm, welcoming and friendly. We will ask you to read a few Airside Rules and sign a Temporary Club Membership Form before we start. We always ask about previous flying experience so that we can tailor what you are doing with us to maximum benefit for you. We will show you the aircraft and how to inspect it before flight and take you through familiarisation with the cockpit and controls. Next you will have a pre flight briefing – then we fly!
After your flight and making a short post flight inspection of the aircraft we have to make log book entries and have a de-brief and write up student records. Your instructor may well say he would love to see you again but the one thing you will not have is a big sales pitch! We will not try and sell you a block of ten lessons, or a pack of training material to hook you in! We want you to be with us and come back again because of the experience you get, not because we have offered a small discount deal. Having said this of course they are options for payment for follow on training – see the Prices/Costs page.
Most flying training lessons are booked into two hour slots. This allows time to cover the pre flight requirements, fly for an hour and complete the post flight tasks and de-brief. For dual cross country exercises we book three hours to allow for extra briefing time and approximately a 50% longer flight duration. See also Special Options below.
A standard two-hour booking slot for training secures one of our great aircraft and an instructor to fly from our dedicated facility and fabulous airport! We also provide what personal equipment you need.
Having experienced the fact that our student pilots really enjoy their dual cross country training flights so much made us realise we could extend this kind of exciting experience to anyone. In fact all these longer flights are flights with an instructor incorporating specific exercise elements of the official training syllabus. These are not pleasure flights. Pleasure flights can only be undertaken by commercial operators operating public transport aircraft.
The breakfast flight
Flying early in the morning gives us flying time before the sun has warmed the earth kicking off thermals. Strictly for early birds we start with examining the flight route and undertake a pre flight planning exercise. The aircraft is fuelled and checked the previous evening to be ready but we conduct a pilot pre flight inspection. The flight itself will be an unhurried experience when you can handle the controls of the aircraft as much as you wish and appropriate to any previous flying experience. Your instructor will discuss the weather, airspace, map reading and hopefully you will learn enough so that after breakfast at another airfield you can fly and find your own way back to Kemble!
Pilot for a day!
Not everyone wants to become a qualified pilot but we all like to fill our lives with different experiences. Being a pilot for a day again involves cross country flying but to several different airfields. It will include a stop for lunch of course and it can be to a standard planned route or very much tailored to suit you.
Following on from a trial flight or first lessons is easy especially if you become a Club Member. As a student this will only cost £40 for a year and that gives you access to the Members area of the Club website including the booking system. So, you can book an aircraft and an instructor on line at anytime. You will also have full use of the other Club facilities. We invite all students in basic training to arrive for lessons regardless of weather in order that we have adequate time to ensure your theoretical knowledge is developed with your flying skills – so you get more out of each and every lesson.
The syllabus of training
The BMAA Syllabus of Training was re-printed in July 2011 and we always have copies available in the office. The syllabus, which is approved by the C.A.A., lists the exercises that have to be covered during training for a licence. The exercises have specific numbers and in the body of the booklet there is a breakdown of the component parts of the exercise with tick boxes. This is really useful in that as you go through training you can tick off each section as you go and if there is something you think you do not understand, or it has been missed, then you can take that up with your instructor.
I suppose this is the first really definable goal. As you go through training you will develop a good rapport with your instructor and you will learn to appreciate his skill and to understand that he will send you solo when you are ready! I have sent someone solo after just five and a half hours training! He was 17 years old and that makes a difference! But, we won’t keep you in dual training longer than is necessary. Once you have gone solo however there will be further dual lessons to pick up on elements of training that need polish and as revision for your practical test.
Before your first solo flight you must have a Medical Self Declaration, available free on line. You should also have taken, and passed your Air Law exam. Se the NPPL web site for details.
Gaining a flying licence
The practical test that you need to pass to seal the application for your National Private Pilots Licence (Microlight) is called a GST – a General Skills Test. David Young is our NPPL Examiners so you can do the test on site. If you have done most of your training with David then we may ask you to complete your final revision sessions with one the other instructors. In the reverse instance we normally will get you to fly with David for final revision. There are a number of reasons for this but principally we are doing an ‘audit’ to check everything has been covered.
There are also multiple choice papers to sit on each of the following subjects: Principles of Flight, Air Law, Meteorology, Navigation and Human Performance. Additionally you will have to take a radio test - the RT exam. Luckily you will have used the radio since starting training with us at Kemble so its not too daunting.
A NPPL (Microlight) allows you to fly microlights anywhere in the UK. In practice there is not an issue flying in Europe. See the BMAA and NPPL web sites for details.
How long will it take?
I have taken a student through training for a licence in three weeks during which time he completed a total of 32 hours flying training. He chose during training to gain experience on two different flexwing aircraft and this slightly extended his total training required. The minimum requirement for a licence is 25 hours of flight training. We have achieved this in the past but mostly with young people. Also today the aircraft types generally being flown are higher performance and a little more complex so of course it will take longer. The BMAA publish statistics which recently showed the average age of new NPPL (Microlight) holders to be 44 years, the average hours to gain a licence to be 54 and the average time frame to be 1.9 years.
The restricted licence
There is a Restricted licence available which may suite some people including those wanting to qualify to fly deregulated aircraft, and only 15 hours are required. This option omits the navigation elements from the practical training. The restrictions mean that you may only operate up to 8nm from your take off point, in less than 10kts of wind with a cloud base minimum of 1,000ft above ground level. You cannot carry passengers until you have completed a total of 25 hours flying and have been signed off by an Examiner so to do.
Learning to fly over a longer period, a year or more, is not the end of the world. There is lots to learn, its an enjoyable process and why rush? However, spreading training will significantly increase the number of flying lessons required to complete a licence. If you have a lesson, or two, a week then you will maximise progress as one lesson follows another. If you don’t fly for a month then in the early stages you will end up spending some of your lessons revising exercises you covered last time. The BMAA national statistics suggest the average time frame to gain a licence is 1.9 years!
How much will it cost?
Trial Flights are 30 mins for £86 or £160 for an hour. Standard flying lessons vary in price according to which aircraft you fly.
We have a number of training packages which most people prefer. To give a very rough guide on cost to a pilot’s licence the minimum hours requirement for a licence is 25 hours – see Pilot Course charges. Most people do take longer than the minimum hours and we always give progress assesments throughout training.
After gaining a licence Kemble Flying Club trainees can join our Members Lease Scheme and hire the aircraft.
For full details of costs please see our Prices/Costs page.
Is it difficult?
No its not, however the following will help:
1) A degree of natural ability or practical skill in relation to sport of any sort.
2) Enthusiasm to learn about the related exam topics.
Learning to fly an aircraft is one thing and becoming a pilot is another! As a pilot you employ the practical skills you have acquired but through knowledge you are a decision maker. Aircraft performance, air law, meteorology, navigation and human performance will have a bearing on every flight! The better your knowledge the more fun you will have flying and the safer it will be.
What are the weather limits on training?
We generally avoid training in rain or with surface winds greater than 20kts – that’s 23mph. Limits vary a little too with aircraft type, the extent of the cross wind, where individuals have got to in the syllabus and on the extent of their ability. We always want you to enjoy your flight, we must never compromise safety and the flight must be a positive learning experience. If we suspect there is a chance that any one of these three elements may not be achievable then we do not fly.
What about ground school?
We now offer all students the opportunity to come for booked lessons whatever the weather. The correct way of approaching flying training is for there to be a long briefing on each training exercise and then before each flying lesson a shorter pre flight briefing to largely recap on all the important points. If you have these long briefings, which take about an hour to an hour and a half, the understanding you have will then enable you to get so much more out of the actual flying lesson – the expensive bit! So, overall we believe that the majority of our students doing this will learn more, learn more quickly and complete their flying training in less flying hours!
Is navigation difficult?
Navigation is great fun and while we teach you the old fashioned basics you are allowed to use a GPS – even on qualifying cross country flights!
What happens after I pass and get my licence?
Microlight flying revolves very largely around people flying their own aircraft or shared aircraft, although some Clubs/Schools will hire microlights now. We are one of the schools offering hire within a scheme. The Members Lease Group scheme principally allows you to continue flying after gaining a licence to broaden and consolidate your experience, to take your friends flying and to enjoy flying pretty much when you want within the spirit of the Members Lease Group agreement. Many of our former students do go on to buy their own aircraft, or get involved with syndicates. Many of our Members Lease Group members have taken part in the Fly UK Rally and recently two members flew to Spain!
Thank you for troubling to read this document and I hope it has been useful. Please do not hesitate to contact the Club, or me personally, with any particular questions. You can always use my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org
David Young (Last update November 2016)
Fully trained and qualified – ratings issued by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. See: Our Instructors.
U.K Type Approved microlight aircraft maintained up to date in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations. See: Our Aircraft.
What you would expect from a modern professional organisation. Aircraft cover, passenger and student liability to £1,000,000 in any incident. A Hangar Keepers policy, public and employers liability cover to standard levels. See current Certificates in Club Room / reception.